Health amidst business

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Updated: October 05, 2015 11:18 AM

Despite being a business hotel, Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai has been uncompromising in providing a completely holistic spa experience along with unmatchable hospitality. Somananda Nongmaithem, spa manager, Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai talks about the spa’s distinctiveness, his experience of working across different countries and the future of this industry. By Rituparna Chatterjee

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Despite being a business hotel, Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai has been uncompromising in providing a completely holistic spa experience along with unmatchable hospitality. Somananda Nongmaithem, spa manager, Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai talks about the spa’s distinctiveness, his experience of working across different countries and the future of this industry. By Rituparna Chatterjee

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The reason for our success is no secret. It comes down to one single principle that transcends time and geography, religion and culture. It’s the Golden Rule – the simple idea that if you treat people well, the way you would like to be treated, they will do the same.” This brand philosophy established by Isadore Sharp, founder and chairman of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is promptly echoed by Somananda Nongmaithem, spa manager, Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai. Opened in 2008, Four Seasons Spa’s staff of 25 (three receptionists, a spa supervisor, an assistant manager, a spa manager, three gym trainers, two male and female attendants and several therapists) has been striving to ensure that the best treatments are provided to its guests coupled with unmatchable hospitality. Hence a strong focus is given on staff training, explains Nongmaithem, adding that, for new recruits an induction programme is conducted both by the HR and the spa departments. The HR training involves personality development, a brief about the hotel culture, standards, philosophy, etc. Whereas the spa department offers two types of trainings – a spa treatment training and a spa standard training. “We not only focus on providing high-end treatments but also giving a great experience to our guests. Hence we train our staff on how to treat the guests, what advice to give them and so on. Because apart from good therapies, a warm hospitable staff is crucial to help relax the mind and body of our guests,” strongly propagates Nongmaithem, adding that, they hire only experienced therapists instead of freshers to provide the best spa experience to the hotel guests.

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Four Seasons Spa boasts of eight treatment rooms, including two suites – Natrajasana and Vajrasana – that function as private spas, and a yoga studio. It offers a diverse range of health and wellness services including massages, Ayurveda inspired treatments, body treatments, facial treatments, rituals, yoga, beauty treatments, Rossano Ferretti salon services, skincare with aromatherapy associates and personal fitness. “For our body treatments we use products of well-known international brands like Sodashi,” mentions Nongmaithem.

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A majority of the customers to the spa constitute European and American hotel guests along with a significant number of the local clientele. “People in Mumbai prefer going to the spa and hence we focus on the local guests too. We have a annual membership costing Rs 120,000 plus taxes wherein the first massage is complementary and the following massages can be availed at a 20 per cent discount. Moreover, we provide complementary laundry services for the gym attire, among others. We have seen more local guests opting for the membership including some expats in Mumbai,” shares Nongmaithem.

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From the The Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur to Ramada in the UK, Aman resorts in Sri Lanka, a destination spa in Turkey to India back again, Nongmaithem’s work experience across different countries has exposed him to the varying trends of this industry. For instance, in UK people are more inclined towards beauty treatments, specifically, result-oriented services like manicure, pedicure, spray tan. Ayurveda is also very popular in the UK since the treatment suits the cold climate. As for Sri Lanka, the concept of Ayurveda is slightly different from that of India for they use different herbs as compared to us, explains Nongmaithem.

Healthy hotels

20151015eh34According to a research report by SRI International for the Global Spa & Wellness Summit (GSWS), the wellness tourism industry represents a US$ 439 billion market, or 14 per cent of world tourism expenditures and the growing demand for healthier travel of all breeds will lead this category to grow at nine per cent annually through 2017, 50 per cent faster than regular tourism. Moreover, the spending by wellness tourists is on an average 130 per cent more than regular tourists. To capitalitise on this potential, hotels are now seen offering a diverse range of wellness programmes apart from basic treatments, which is a trend good for the guests and for the business. “The spa industry has become competitive currently with guests demanding different experiences. Some international spas are even conducting special consultations, Chi Gong and Tai Chi – energy healing exercises, providing spiritual guidance and life coaches, to name a few. We will soon see this trend reflecting in India as well. On top of this, in future people will be more focused in extreme well-being, anti-aging, preventive treatments, metabolism, nutrition programmes and many more. The scope of spa will be much bigger,” predicts Nongmaithem.

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